Elvis’ Certificate of Achievement

I’d like to thank the SCOA (Spinone Club of America) for recognizing Elvis’ therapy work with a Certificate of Achievement for his AKC Therapy Dog Advanced title.

Two days after receiving his certificate, Elvis assisted in a patient’s physical therapy. Ok, all he had to do was lay on the floor, but during our therapy visit, a physical therapist who was working with the patient asked Elvis to lie on the floor. The patient then had to lean over and pet Elvis as a means of helping her regain balance.

Elvis’ certificate of Achievement


Mia’s Sage Grouse hunt

Saturday was opening day for both partridge and sage hen, and it was Mia’s turn to go hunting.

Mia on a lava ridge

Unlike Doc’s forest hunt, this was open desert as far as the eye could see. We hadn’t been hunting very long before I saw a sage hen in the open, about 75 yards out. I “whoa’d” Mia and was trying to determine the best way of getting close enough for a shot when it, along with 9 others flushed.

Not long after encountering that flock, Mia caught a scent and turned to give me her “come here” look – it’s the look she gives me when she wants to show me something. I gave her the “hunt” command and she began tracking a sage grouse.

  Mia gives me her “I have something to show you” look

She was still working her way towards the bird when it flushed and I dropped it, a young rooster. Mia then did a nice job of retrieving.

Mia pointing sage grouse at about 50 yards

With that shot I had my sage hen limit so I changed tactics to partridge. We continued hunting several more miles into the desert without luck, but encountered three more sage grouse. They didn’t fly far so I influenced Mia around just for another chance to point them, which she did at about 50 yards.

A Sage Grouse about 75 yards away

We then returned to the 4Runner for lunch. I checked out Mia’s feet and found that the lava rocks had worn her pads down and I was afraid that she might slip a pad if we hunted any longer. She had also picked up a number of cactus thorns in her feet and legs, even though she’s experienced in avoiding them, so I called it a day.

Mia with the sage hen she retrieved.

At the age of 8, Mia’s beginning to show her age on these strenuous hunts and needed a little pain medicine to relieve her aches and stiffness.

The dog crate makes a great picnic table for soda, chips and sandwich.

Doc opens hunting season

Doc got the call to open hunting season, with a Ruffed Grouse hunt in Wolverine Canyon. It was perfect hunting conditions – wind, rain, and temperatures in the mid 50’s.

Wolverine Canyon

Doc scented birds several times but was unable to track them down.


The burrs and grass seeds were much worse this year than I’ve ever seen, and I spent about half-an-hour grooming them from his face. I was worried about them getting into his ears and decided to call off our hunt.

Doc covered in burrs and grass seeds

Hunting the creek bottom on our way back to the vehicle, Doc locked up on point. I could see a Ruffed Grouse running through the brush ahead of him and when it stopped, I moved in. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a shot when it flushed through the heavy brush.

Doc stares down a calf

Back home, I spent two hours grooming burrs and grass seeds out of Doc before bathing him. Even though I was not successful in bagging a bird, it was nonetheless an enjoyable opening hunt.

A new home

Thanks to some diligent technicians and customer service reps, we’re back online sooner than expected and I’m posting this article from our new home.

Our new house

We weren’t really planning on it but when everything fell into place, we sold our home and moved into town. It took 10 days to sell but 30 days to close, and now the stress is over and we’re settled in.

We discourage Dakota from unnecessarily following us up and down the stairs due to her heart condition, so she’s contented to wait for us.

The Spinone were confused and stressed during the month we were packing up to move, but only took them two days to become comfortable in the new house. They really enjoy the back deck and all the rooms they to explore.

The windows are the perfect height.

Several years ago I realized that, while our pasture was good for basic training, it was inadequate for more advanced training – the dogs were no longer training but simply going through a routine. Any real training they received was when we worked with my trainer, and our new home is located closer to the foothills where we can train.

The guys love our big deck.

Some of the neighbors have dogs that are unruly, but that’s what fences are for and we’re pleased how well our guys adjusted. We actually feel more out in the country here in town than when we lived 7 miles out of town. It’s quiet, there’s a farm next to us with horses and geese, and a herd of Texas Longhorns not far away that we can hear from time to time.

Checking out the back yard day 1.

With less land to take care of, we can hopefully do more playing and less maintaining.